Saturday, 28 July 2007

Krushki of “The Exiles”

TEMPTATION got the better of me today and I finally bought that second-hand copy of The Essential Super-Villain Team-Up Vol. 1 I’d seen sitting in Elizabeth’s bookstore for several weeks.

Hey, 400+ B&W pages of classic 1970s bombastic action starring Doctor Doom, the Red Skull, The Champions, The Avengers and the Sub-Mariner for only $16 was too good a deal to pass up. Plus I was a big fan of the short-lived title as a kid. The first 40 pages is even illustrated by the supremely talented Wally Wood! Bargain!

But who knew they’d be an extra bonus hidden in the tale reprinted from Astonishing Tales #4-5? Seems the Red Skull wants to conquer Latveria while its despotic ruler Doc Doom is chillin’ in some rich resort (in full armour, no less). He makes use of his old Axis allies the Exiles (first seen in Captain America #102, June 1968), one of them being the imaginatively named Krushki (what a Russian is doing hanging with a Nazi is beyond me, but…well, I don’t write the comics, I just read ’em). Krushki is – surprise, surprise – a “skilled wrestler” who favours the bear hug when putting the hurt on people.

Whether he has a pro or amateur background isn’t clarified, but I’ll assume he learned his trade from the Ivan Koloff School Of Professional Wrestling Heeldom.

Naturally, he and his motley colleagues (including some poor sap who uses a curtain as his weapon of choice) get royally fucked up by Doom who, let’s face it, is one pretty powerful dude.

So Doom beats up the Exiles AND the Red Skull and sends ’em packing. Great stuff (even if the last half of the yarn is illustrated by George Tuska, a cartooning jobber if ever I saw one).

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